Ms. Yamin, many people know you as a journalist from television, and now you will be taking on a new position as head of Taglit Germany. Is that a big change?
Yes, it starts for me on April 1st, I’m really excited. I’ve known Taglit for a long time. Back when I was in the army, I also organized the meetings between the Israeli soldiers and the international participants. That was always a highlight for both sides. The Taglit team approached me last summer, and after October 7th, 2023, I made my decision. In addition, I will continue to report for the Israeli channel 12 from Germany.

Taglit also receives money from the Israeli government. Does this dual role endanger your neutrality as a journalist?
I keep my work at Taglit and my work as a correspondent strictly separate. This works mainly because of my role at Channel 12, where I report explicitly about Germany, i.e. German society, economy and politics – but not about Israel. And should there ever be an occasion to mention Israel, for example during a state visit – anyone who knows me knows that I have no problem criticizing Jerusalem.

You have worked for many years for both Israeli television and German media. Most recently, you were chief reporter at BILD. Is it actually different to report for a German or an Israeli audience?
At first I mainly did reports from Germany for Israelis, for example about neo-Nazis. The Israelis shook their heads and asked themselves: does something like that still exist? Are these the same ideologies as in the Shoah? You have to put it into context: what you see here are the classic “old” Nazis, and then there are also right-wing parties like the AfD, who think differently. After the documenta scandal, I had to explain to viewers in Germany and even colleagues what BDS actually is or why what was shown there was clearly anti-Semitic. Overall, however, the topics that interest people in both countries are always similar. I very much hope that through my work, the Germans will understand a little more about Israel and the Israelis a little more about Germany.

The topic of anti-Semitism has also always preoccupied you.
It was always important to me to report on this. Also because I consider Germany, just like Israel, to be my home. I am raising my daughter here and I want her to be able to build a natural Jewish life here.

You yourself were attacked several times when you reported from Neukölln in Hebrew. Even long before October 7th.
Yes, but I think October 7th really changed the way I feel about this country. The fact that many of my friends were afraid to send their children to school after that, and that even now hardly anyone wears their Star of David openly – everything feels so existential. It’s no longer these so-called isolated cases: someone was spat on here, insulted there. Instead, you almost get the feeling that we as Jews, all together, have to fight for our home – in Germany and in Israel. At the same time, I often think: Why do we put up with this? When I’m sitting in a taxi and my husband calls, I answer him in German, even though we speak Hebrew among ourselves. That annoys me too. I think: We Jews and Israelis shouldn’t have to hide here. That can’t be allowed to happen.

Did this also influence your decision to start at Taglit?
Absolutely. I see Jews withdrawing all over the world. Young people at universities who no longer tell their fellow students that they are Jews. And when they do stand up for themselves, they are beaten so badly that they end up in hospital.

You were the first reporter to interview Lahav Shapira after the FU student was brutally beaten and kicked in front of a bar in Berlin.
I interviewed Lahav on the day he had to have facial surgery. It was tough. I asked myself: What will happen to my daughter, who is growing up here in Germany? Will she study here one day and encounter this hatred? We simply cannot allow that to happen. For any child in our Jewish community.

What role can Taglit play in this?
Taglit’s mission is to offer all young Jews the opportunity to find their own relationship with Israel. The normal program is a ten-day trip through the country, completely free of charge. You meet Israelis, soldiers, students, and people your own age. Our participants are between 18 and 26 years old. Anyone who takes part in Taglit is therefore mature enough to form their own opinion. Many young Jews may never have had the opportunity to discover this country before, about which they are asked many difficult questions in Germany. After the trip, they can say with confidence: “Hey, listen, Israel is not at all like the haters on the Internet or anti-Semitic fellow students say.” We currently have a volunteer program that allows people to travel to the war-torn country for two weeks and help with the harvest, for example. This means that German Jews also learn first-hand what happened on October 7th; they can speak to survivors themselves. Many are encouraged to see that we stick together as a community, even though we have been so wounded. The normal Taglit program is starting up again right now, there is a group from Germany that is currently in Israel. We will not be intimidated!

Taglit wants to inspire young Jews to love Israel. Some participants later decide to stay in the country. Doesn’t this contradict the interest of the Jewish communities in Germany in keeping Judaism alive here?
This question also preoccupied me, but in discussions with my future team it quickly became clear: we are not promoting Aliyah here. I would certainly be the wrong person for that. After all, I live here in Germany despite my Israeli passport. Taglit is about empowering young people to become self-confident Jewish personalities – no matter where. I am also seeing much more that people who previously hid their Judaism, perhaps even knew little about it, are returning to Taglit and can proudly say to their circle of friends, in the community, at university: “I am part of this people who live in Israel, but also all over the world.”

In 2017, Taglit was heavily criticized, especially in the United States, after it instructed its tour operators to stop organizing meetings with Palestinians. What is your opinion on this?
We are currently in a special situation and it may be that security for such meetings cannot be guaranteed. But in principle Taglit has always thrived on participants travelling to the various minorities in Israel, and I also think that encounters with Palestinians are important. The participants should get a comprehensive view of the country and ask as many critical questions as they have. We always travel around with Israeli soldiers and sooner or later discussions always arise. But that is exactly what this exchange thrives on. That is exactly what Taglit is.

The interview was conducted by Mascha Malburg.